October 2, 2001
For immediate release
Atlantic Provinces' Finance Ministers Meeting in Charlottetown
Joining the Honourable Pat Mella, Provincial Treasurer for PEI was the Honourable Neil LeBlanc from Nova Scotia, the Honourable Norm Betts from New Brunswick and the Honourable Joan Marie Aylward from Newfoundland and Labrador.
During the meeting, Ministers exchanged their views on the provincial economic impacts of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the potential fiscal consequences. They recognize that the economy has been impacted, though there is insufficient information at present to properly measure the degree of the impact.
Ministers offer their support to federal colleagues in reacting to the crisis. They encourage the federal Finance Minister to share information on the effects of this crisis on the economy as well as any federal actions being put in place to enhance the prospects of a speedy economic recovery. The federal Minister plans to meet with his provincial colleagues in mid December.
Ministers will join their provincial and territorial counterparts at national level meetings in Vancouver on October 10 and 11. Top on that agenda will be the continuing problem of Fiscal Imbalances between provinces and between the two levels of government. Ministers reiterated the unanimous position of all Canadian Premiers for the immediate removal of the Equalization ceiling and development of a strengthened and fairer Equalization program.
Realizing that current circumstances will likely have negative impacts on government revenues, Ministers were united in their opinion that present fiscal arrangements need to be addressed now more than ever.
The Finance Ministers continued their discussions on the Strategic Investment plan for the Atlantic region and committed to further advance this work and deliver a framework report to Premiers.
They also noted that economic growth strategies are not alternatives to the improvements in fiscal arrangements that the region has been seeking. They look forward to reducing dependency on federal transfer dollars through renewed economic improvement.